Lost Weekend: A Tweet-Driven Bar Crawl through North Beach

Feel the swingin' swagger.
​Saturday was not only a typically crisp San Francisco midsummer's eve, it was birthday night, that special time of year when we wander the streets and alleys of North Beach in search of fun, frolic, and alcoholic stimulation. This year's celebration took advantage of modern technology for the first time: Tweeting was employed to guide followers from bar to bar, a breakthrough of, as it turned out, no significance whatsoever. Here's a pub-by-pub breakdown of the evening.

6 p.m. Arrived at Tony Nik's (1534 Stockton at Columbus) and sipped a perfectly gelid jumbo martini. The gin: Hendrick's, an irresistible confluence of cucumbers, rose petals, and god knows what.

7:15 p.m. Anchor Steam and a game of stick under the swingin' swagger of Frank Sinatra's portrait at Gino and Carlo (548 Green at Columbus). Carbed up with gooey slabs of takeaway pepperoni pizza from Golden Boy next door.

8:22 p.m. Hit venerable boho hangout Tosca (242 Columbus at Broadway) and subverted the chill with two rounds of hot chocolate with brandy, a drink usually associated with alpine ski resorts. This is also one of the few bars extant with an honest-to-god digital-free jukebox.

9:35 p.m. Headed next door to Spec's (12 William Saroyan Place), everyone's favorite low-ceilinged/merchant marine/strippers and beatniks hangout for pints of ebon Guinness and Gouda hand-carved on an immense pig-iron mechanism out of the Herman Melville era. Live honky-tonk piano too.

10:15 p.m. The beat of the mambo drew us to the Cigar Bar (850 Montgomery at Pacific), a subterranean hideaway alive with congas, cigar smoke, a burbling courtyard fountain, and that irresistible Havana atmo. The drink: mojitos, of course, tall, cool, and brimming with mentha piperita.

11:49 p.m. It was time to take it down a notch at the shadowy Buddha Lounge in Chinatown (901 Grant at Washington). Gin and tonic, lots of ice, hold the lime.

12:19 p.m. Peeked in at the overly rambunctious Bow Bow (1155 Grant at Broadway), then decimated the evening's toxins with a piping-hot double cheeseburger at Sam's brightly neon-lit diner (618 Broadway at Columbus). That morning-after hangover never had a chance.

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